Category Archives: Shopping

Gold diggers head to Dubai in Diwali

A unique photo-essay showing might of Gold in the ‘City of Gold’ – Dubai. As one of the world’s great gold trading hubs, there is no doubt that Dubai has some of the best gold shops in the world. When it comes to buying gold, be it bullion, bars or kilos, or jewellery Dubai has a plethora of gold shops where you can indulge your passion for the much sought after metal. However, as with any investment, it makes sense to proceed with caution when investing in gold, which, in many cultures, traditionally serves as an alternative to putting money in the bank.

The Gold Souk in Dubai truly demonstrates why this Emirate has earned itself the reputation of being the city of gold. The sheer scale and variety of designs available on offer is staggering – bracelets, bangles, earrings, pendants and necklaces are available in white, pink, yellow and even green gold in unimaginable designs. There are over 400 shops to choose from and the predominant style of jewelry available is Arabic and Indian styles with some European designs available as well. Additionally, the prices of gold here are amongst the cheapest found anywhere in the world as there is no VAT or tax applicable on the purchase of gold. Browse several stores before you decide on a particular design and don’t forget to haggle for the best possible price. Ask for certificates where applicable. Also be aware that credit card purchases incur an additional fee in most shops.

Have a dekko…what you can dig in Dubai…in Gold!dubai-1 dubai-3 dubai-4 dubai-5 dubai-6 dubai-7 dubai-8 dubai-9 dubai-11 dubai-12 dubai-13 dubai-14 dubai10 positive-poison-dubai-2

Photo Courtsey: Positive Poison

Shopped till we dropped at Law Garden Ahmedabad

You are in Ahmedabad, & you are not visiting Law Garden? Not possible!

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Given the avid shoppers that we are (mother –daughter duo), on our first day in Ahmedabad we headed to Law Garden in the evening which is haven for Gujarat Handicrafts mainly from Saurashtra & Kutch.  I was told that there is no activity in the market during the day time, but in the evening when Law Garden closes, the market comes to life.  It was our long cherished wish to shop for handicrafts in Law Garden since the time we had seen it on Television in the serial – Taarak Mehta Ka oolta chashma where entire cast, especially Dayaben with her friends shopped for her Navratri wares.  Believe me, in reality, it was more vibrant than shown on the television.

We shopped for some Ghagras, duppattas, junk jewellery, bespoke neckpieces and home decoration items. We used our limited Gujarati skills to bargain unlimited, though were quite unsuccessful at that. It was not difficult for the sellers to find out our limitation with Gujarati but overall we got some good bargain deals given by the fact that I don’t like to negotiate especially while shopping for handicrafts. I believe we should support Indian Handicrafts by buying at good prices. More on that later…

Law Garden market is unique in certain ways as it sells only handicrafts and that too of very innovative designs at value for money pricing. If you know how to negotiate well, then you can strike some great deals, unfortunately which I could not.

As it is I am great lover of Gujarati Handicrafts, this place looked just apt for me to satiate my yearn for mirror work dupattas, chaniya cholis, bags, batua, mojris, bedcovers, kurtis and wall hangings. So much so, that I want to visit the place again around Navratri to shop at Law Garden in all its glory and splendor.

My daughter Tanya loves bling and she spared not a single shop to pick up something or the other which ranged from oxidized jhumkas to studs to danglers and what to say of kadas and chadas.

After forcefully putting a full-stop to our shopping we headed towards food court adjacent to the market for some mouth watering chaats and ice creams.

Indeed there is no place like Law Garden in Ahmedabad!

Gujarat Tourism need to promote it as most happening shopping destination, it will immensely benefit the artisans and economy of th

e State.

 

Ganjing Carnival in Hazrat Ganj Lucknow, Down Memory Lane!

I came across pictures of Ganjing Carnival on my facebook page which made me really very emotional, as Lucknow as a City has great sentimental value for me. My heart immediately traversed to 90s, and thoughts crossed my mind of the wonderful time I spent in Lucknow then. . I can safely say that some of the best years of my life were spent in Lucknow and Ganjing was integral part of my stay in Lucknow.  

Ganj

Shifting from Delhi to Lucknow can be termed as backward integration for me and many people advised me against it. Given the headstrong person, that I am, I stuck to my guns. Before that I had just been to Lucknow only once that too for my interview appointment in PICUP. I had not applied much thought to it that what shifting to Capital of biggest state of the country would entail. After selection, I was quite clear that I am going to join PICUP and shift to Lucknow. In no time, it all fell into place.

नवाबों के शहर – शहरे लखनऊ

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The ‘open’ culture of Delhi was in sharp contrast to ‘closed’ culture of Lucknow. This posed serious challenge for me as an individual. Your every action was under scanner, in office, in market, in extended families and friends (??).  Now that I was in Lucknow, I had to learn the trick of the trade, as goes the saying: While in Rome, Do as the Romans do!  Going by the Mantra, I started making friends in colleagues but most of them were from Lucknow only. Obviously they bonded well in office, after office, could connect very well with each other. I being an outsider, a Delhi girl, though it generated curiosity among them but they were far from friendly. Few months passed in repenting about my decision, my heart ran back to Delhi all the time and I cursed myself for making the decision of shifting to Lucknow. But now, nothing could be done. I had found solace in the posters all over: मुस्कुराइए की आप लखनऊ में हैं!

As times passed by, I made friends with my colleagues: Geeta Sindhi, Amarjeet Singh, Ajay Kumar, Nadeem Ahmed, Kanika Gautam…with special mention of Shri Jwalant Swaroop. He is worthy of another special post.  Not to miss mention of bosses like: Mr P.L.Punia, Rajive Kumar, V.K. Chopra, J. K. Gupta and Prabhat Kumar.  Things started changing, I started gelling in Lucknow & PICUP cultures simultaneously and frequent visit to Hazrat Ganj – the upmarket shopping destination of Lucknow played a big role. The visits to specific destinations, movie theatres – remember watching “ Ram Teri Ganga Maili’ in Mayfair and coffee shops played a big role with my office colleagues and with Geeta in particular.

Evenings in Ganj were just amazing with setting sun providing the backdrop, foodies thronging the by lanes, lovers walking in the Lover’s lane ( actually called Lover’s lane), families out of shopping and movie lovers for movies all made up for the strong case in favour of Ganjing at any given point of time. Yes, Ganjing is the term, everywhere people go for shopping, outing, strolling but in Lucknow people go for GANJING! It was quite an experience in itself which made my stay even more pleasurable.

Now when I read about Ganjing Carnival, it was down memory lane…how time has flown. I don’t remember specific shops, cafés or even movie halls but I very fondly remember shopping with my mom in Ganj, hanging out with my friends, fun time with girlie gang or some official meetings too. Ganj holds a very special place in my heart like everyone who has been associated with Lucknow in any which ways.  Ganj is heart of Lucknow and Carival is the Celebration.

So for the uninitiated: Hazratganj (Hindi: हज़रतगंज, Urdu: حضرتگںج) is a major shopping area situated in the heart of Lucknow in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh. In addition to bazaars, it also contains shopping complexes, restaurants, hotels, theaters and offices. “Ganjing” is a term used to describe ambling and shopping in the wide lanes and by lanes of city’s ganj market. Lucknow Development Authority (LDA) together with city’s administration organizes monthly carnival on the second Sunday of each month in Hazrat Ganj market. On this night, the market becomes a no-parking zone with barricades and security services. Various types of cultural and entertainment programmes are held for the general public. Lucknow Police watches the crowd with the help of drone cameras.

Today Hazratganj is a major Victorian style shopping area. It houses showrooms, shopping complexes, restaurants, hotels, theatres, offices and businesses. Hazratganj shops sell the famous Lucknow chikankari  material. Gurjari, Handloom Emporium and Gandhi Ashrams are also located in the market.

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The Sahara Ganj Mall is a 5-storied major shopping mall located in Hazratganj. It is one of the largest shopping malls in India covering an area of over 425,000 square feet.  It also has PVR movie theaters besides a huge food court.

Look forward to making it to Ganjing Carnival, till then like me you too see it to believe it!

 

 

Saree Gowns: Swing to the Silhouette in Style!!!

For the first time I noticed Saree Gown in a fashion show in New Delhi few years ago where model sported neon green saree gown by designer Monisha Jaising…

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…Model looked fabulous in the outfit, which at hindsight appeared to me like a saree draped differently like the one by Mumtaz in Aaj Kal Tere Mere Pyaar ke Charche…but as she came close I realized that it was something starkly different. Indeed it was an attempt to update traditional saree by fusing it with a gown like silhouette. Here, the outfit was paradoxical mix of fluidity and construction, which combined the saree’s classic structure with the comfort of zipped – up gown. Outcome, your heavily embroidered saree or lehenga will not come in the way when you swing – Girls like to Swing on your best friend’s sangeet.

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One fine morning, not too long ago, a tweet landed in my account from @triveniethnics displaying their saree gown collection, which instantly caught my fancy and I suddenly recollected seeing them at a fashion show (mentioned above). The outfit in itself is quite exciting as it wonderfully blends silhouettes of a gown with that of a saree and the result is magical. You are adorning the class of a saree and style of a gown in one single outfit. Saree Gown has the comfort of the gown and drape of the saree which gives women the liberty of doing whatever they want. It makes them look elegant & dolled up at the same time, whichever look they want to flaunt. It is an ideal outfit for pretty, young Indian girls who always like to dress to the occasion. It is a fusion of Western & Indian, tradition & trend and style & Silhouette. tssag2602_2Apprising about the breathtakingly beautiful collection of saree gowns, Arvind Saraf, Director, Triveni Ethnics said, “We always attempt to give something new to our customers and saree –gown is one of those outfit. We are sure it will attract young upwardly mobile women who do not shirk from trying something new all the time; especially when it comes to occasion wear. Our Saree Gowns are quite unique because of the use of fabrics like Georgette, nets, chiffons with heavily embroidered tops and colour palette is also quite strong which would appeal younger audience especially.

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Highlight of the collection is  heavy embroidery on sleeves and layering at the bottom.” He observed a very pertinent point, “Our girls have become quite global but they do not want to compromise on the traditional look when going for an occasion, for them these saree gowns would be an ideal outfit to adorn. Here they want to look stylized but not too Western too. This outfit addresses their concern here.”

Triveni Ethnics are based out of Surat, Gujarat who brings in vast experience in the field of sarees from many decades. Triveni Sarees are available on a pan India level across various budgets, styles, fabrics & fashions from both Online & Offline platforms. They have something for every woman. Don’t miss on checking their bridal collection!!!

& of course saree gowns!!!!

You can check & order the Saree – Gown Collection on http://www.triveniethnics.com starting from Rs. 1500 to Rs. 15,000.

Gowns shown in photos above, barring first one are courtesy: Triveni Ethnics

Step into the TRIVENI of tradition, trend & trust!

Triveni Sarees tagline reads: Grace, Dignity, Identity!
For me the catch line would be: Tradition, Trend & Trust!
Every woman aspires these inputs while selecting her saree & Triveni embodies these to the hilt!

Surat based Saraf’s vision of Triveni Sarees can be best described as tasteful concoction of colorful contradictions, grace and trend. Their sarees transcend their passion to make Designer Sarees accessible not only to classes and but also to masses. Going by this dictum, their sarees have Designer inputs which every woman aspires with value for money pricing. Considering the highly competitive and price sensitive saree market, these wonderful sarees are a steal for their price tags. No wonder Triveni sarees are loved by not only Indian Women but by women across the Globe. They have a fleet of happy women customers who have adorned Triveni sarees to very special occasions like on a red carpet event or marriage in the family. Loved for all occasions, adored by all women…step into world of Triveni Sarees through their exclusive collections.

I will take you through them in a sequence so that you know about the collections in detail. Their catalogues are most awesome pieces which we got to glance while our visit to Surat to their office and works recently. I admit it will be difficult to do justice to Triveni’s print catalogues, but none the less, it will be an honest effort.

So how and where you can get these beautiful sarees? No need to go to Surat. You can get these ordered from the comfort of your office or home by visiting their website: http://www.triveniethnics.com and sarees would be delivered right at your doorsteps. So what are you waiting for? Navratri and Diwali are round the corner…dress yourself in Triveni Sarees and wear it on these festivals and special occasions. Post your picture on your face book page, tag @Triveniethnics and you become the Triveni Saree Ambassador. How cool is that!

And…and Triveni Sarees are retailed through all prominent outlets country – wide. Your can have your pick from there to!

While at Triveni Sarees, I felt I was amidst the ocean of beautiful sarees…sarees for every budget, every colour, and every design! Interestingly, for the first time I came to know about the humongous effort which goes into the making of a saree. You would be surprised to know that a saree has to go through many stages – selection of fabric, colouring, dyeing , designing, embroidery, folding, packaging and packing and quality checks on all the stages, before reaching its destination…our wardrobes!

Back stage story will be in a separate post, till then you swoon over wonderful world of Triveni Sarees!

KALPANA

Kalpana 3

This collection is all about popularizing trends for the modern, confident women. The semi casual sarees gives the impression of exclusive designer wear courtesy their subtle surface designs. Light and Bright colours care combined with a two-tone effect decorated with embroidery, cut work and brocade borders; teamed with designer blouses. The design and placement of embroidery are the highlights of this collection combining ethnic wear into contemporary styles with intricate details. They are heavily embroidered mixed with chiffon, georgette and net fabrics. Fancy jacquard, chiffon, georgette based fabrics are used in sarees.

Ideal for women who love to blend traditional and some classical!

SENTORINI

Serontini

The collections is all about fusion; fusion of tradition into contemporary style. The designs are inspired by the tradition of Rajasthan fused with modern Bandhini look. The colors are bright yet soothing, even complimenting others well in some of the pieces. The fabric used is chiffon. The most attractive feature of the collection is its border- beautifully crafted with sari and thread work. The collection is beautifully designed for newly married women much because of its colors, surface works and prints. Bandhej print has been widely used in different patterns and colours. Stone work and embroidery are combined to create artistic patterns in blouse pieces. Furthermore, there are different styles of blouses to choose from!

Ideal for those who love to be in sync with tradition & trend!

DASTOOR

Dastoor Collection

Here light and bright colours are combined with a two-tone effect decorated with embroidery, cut work and brocade borders which are teamed with various designer blouses. Important feature of the collection is its subtle variation in designs. They are well embroidered amalgamating Bhagalpuri silk and net fabrics. The sarees are beautified using different surface design techniques like cut work, stone work and embroidery. Whereas sparkle, sequins and foil are used in velvet blouse fabrics. The sarees have a two tone effect and fabrics used are fancy jacquard, chiffon and georgettes. With the use of contrasting colors and beautiful border work teamed with trendy blouse pieces.

Make it a Dastoor to have one!

FASHION FLOW

Fashion Flow

‘Fashion Flow’ is a collection of contemporary style digitally printed sarees which runs on the ground of fashion trends. Scattered floral prints, a mix of bright and pastel tones, tribal block prints and ombre effect; these are some relevant features of ongoing trends. Being lightweight; they are very comfortable and can be stylishly wore to work teaming with matching accessories and bags. These can be draped in multiple ways!. The young women who follow trends will love the digital prints, colours and effects with very creative blouse pieces. The fabrics used in sarees are mainly georgette and chiffon some of the blouses are made of Art Silk.

Ideal for young corporate Indian Women!

GARDEN OF DESIRE

Garden of Designer

Here the georgette and chiffon mix of printed collection gives a smooth feel of the fabric. The hues of red, yellow, blue and green are wisely chosen to match the occasion. The summer collection goes in trend with beautiful floral inspired prints (scattered and continuous) and appealing patchwork. The borders are brocade with ready made laces. The sari pieces are teamed with crepe jacquard blouses with golden prints.

Ideal for would be brides and newly weds!

JHUMRI

Jhumri

In this collection the sarees are designed with minimal variations; keeping it simple yet classy. The variations are mainly in term of sleek borders, apt embroidery and blouses. The sarees are a wise mix of chiffon, georgette and jacquard fabrics. The fabrics are further embedded with patch work and stone work as a design element. The ombre effect adds to the visual appeal with beautiful cut work and tassels. These surface design techniques enhances the beauty multi-fold. The designer blouse pieces are exclusively crafted with embroidery, net fabrics and variation in neckline.

Ideal for contemporary Indian women, young, not so young, forever young!

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Indeed I go by the belief of Saraf’s, “Indian Women is a Triveni ( meaning Fusion) of colourful contradictions, tenderness, yet strength, classy yet contemporary and graceful yet vital.”

My special thanks to Triveni Team for their design and digital inputs: Shalini Raj, Noopur Sharma & Noopur Chaturvedi when I attacked them in their dens!

Malaysia: Ultimate Shopping Destination: Survey

Shopping: Top of mind for everyone when in Malaysia

DANGA BAY - JOHOR BAHRU - JOHOR
DANGA BAY – JOHOR BAHRU – JOHOR

Based on the survey by Tourism Malaysia, shopping remained as the second major activity engaged by tourists in Malaysia for the first quarter this year. The top five shopping areas for foreign tourists were Bukit Bintang, George Town – Penang, Kota Kinabalu, Petaling Street and Johor Bahru. Clothes and apparels constituted 49.6% of items purchased by tourists, followed by handicraft/souvenirs (45.5%), shoes (21.7%), cosmetic (16.4), and chocolates (13.3%).

Tourist expenditure on shopping took the top spot from accommodation for the first quarter of 2015, with an increase of 10.8% to RM4.9 billion against the same period last year.
Accommodation and shopping remained as the two top components of tourist expenditure for the first quarter, constituting 54.4%. The growth in shopping expenditure was dominated by regional and medium-haul countries, namely Brunei, Singapore, Japan, Thailand and Saudi Arabia.

Factors that contributed to these positive performances included the favourable exchange rate, which was advantageous to foreign tourists and had encouraged them to spend more. Besides that, hoteliers were also offering competitive rates to tourists. As a result, tourist expenditure on shopping was higher than accommodation and they stayed longer in the country.

So what are you thinking, head to Malaysia for your Diwali Shopping!

MALLS, MALLS & MORE MALLS IN MALAYSIA

There are more than 350 shopping malls in Malaysia at present; with well over 120 malls in greater Kuala Lumpur itself, many of them concentrated in the Bukit Bintang area, some of these malls attract over 3 million visitors a month – proof that apart from eating, Malaysians love to shop.

Malaysians are in for a retail overdrive with the opening of new malls in and around Malaysia beginning with quill city mall which opened in October 2014 and IOI City Mall in Putrajaya in November this year.
Quill City Mall is a 7-storey lifestyle mall encompassing a net of 770,000 Sq.Ft. of retail space located along Jalan Sultan Ismail, it has more than 320 trendy lifestyle stores, an exciting entertainment hub and an exclusive kid zone spread across its spacious area. The best feature of the mall comes in the form of its sky alfresco dining, the first of its kind in Kuala Lumpur. The dining area has an organically shaped roof consisting of multi-coloured glass and opaque that all for maximum daylight and fantastic views of the surrounding area.
IOI city mall is a brand new lifestyle and entertainment mall located in Putrajaya. It consists of four levels of retail space, encompassing 1.4 million Sq. Ft. of net lettable are. Once opened, IOI city mall will have over 350 specialty stores, restaurants and eateries. Its anchor tenants include Golden Screen Cinema, Parkson and Homepro. The best feature of the mall is the Olympic size skating ring and indoor entertainment park called “district 21”.


There are several malls set to open in the first quarter of 2015. i.e. Sunway Putra mall and Sunway Velocity in Kuala Lumpur. Sunway Putra mall is a part of an integrated development comprising Sunway Putra Tower (office), Sunway Putra hotel and serviced apartments. Located opposite the Putra World Trade Center, the mall comprises 580,00 Sq. Ft. of retail space providing shoppers, especially those living around Taman Duta and Kenny hills, with six levels of shopping and dining experience.

Sunway Velocity is located near Jalan Cochrane and not unlike its sister mall, the Sunway Putra mall, will also consist of offices and hotel components. The feature concept of the mall would be a thematic retail area of Asian avenue offering South Korean, Japanese and other Asian goods and services. Both Sunway Putra mall and Sunway Velocity Shopping mall will not have an anchor departmental store but instead, have eight to ten mini’anchor tenants including a supermarket, a cosmetics hall, a home improvement store, a food court and a Cineplex.

Expected too, in the next two years are three self-contained mixed developments of hotels, offices, residential and retail areas i.e. empire city in Damansara, Mytown and KL gateway in Banagar south area. Shoppers can expect every one of these development to offer the best mix in retails, dining and leisure to hit Kuala Lumpur’s ever growing shopping landscape.

So what’s year end festivities without a spot of shopping that too, in Asia’s latest shopping hub of Kuala Lumpur? I list here the malls which will satiate your yearn for shopping, dining, entertainment and total experience.
Malls. Malls & More Malls…
1. Avenue K
2. Berjaya Times Square
3. Central Market
4. Fahrenheit 88
5. Pavilion Kuala Lumpur
6. Sogo KL
7. Sungei Wang Plaza
8. Suria KLCC
9. The Gardens Mall
10. Viva Mall
11. Utama Shopping Centre
12. Sunway Pyramid
13. 1st Avenue

What’s on offer?

Exclusive promotions & privileges for tourists: iKiosk interactive games, Holiday Shopping Spree, Santarina & ELF Walkabout, Christmas special performance, largest Christmas tree replica, talents dressed in traditional Malaysian attire will be parading 1Malaysia Year End Sale shopping bags at KLs’ popular shopping spots. Hands on activities like batik painting, henna drawing, caricature & mengkuang weaving, colouring & shopping bag designing contest, colourful kids stage performance & more.

Fahrenheit 88 has come up with toys & joys where you spend RM200 & above in max 2 accumulated receipts at any speciality store or RM 300 at brands outlet or UNIQLO, to pick up special gift vouchers.

Pavilion KL too has some exciting line ups where you spend for a chance to experience the best of lifestyle precincts of Pavilion KL like Beauty Hall, Couture Pavilion, Fashion Avenue, Tokyo Street etc.
You can celebrate Christmas with Mr Bean & Friends in Sungei Wang Plaza where you can meet and greet hilarious Mr Bean, his funny girl friend and grumpy landlord.

Suria KLCC has some exciting weekend offer where the first 25 shoppers who spend RM3500 and above on HSBC credit cards in max two receipts will receive a Christmas gift. Also colourful performances to hype up the Christmas season will be held at the centre court.

Head to Glasgow for Common Wealth Games, Be spoilt for choice!

While watching Football world cup in Brazil, we are unable to miss the enthusiasm of FIFA fans from all over the world…it is not only an occasion to satiate your sporting spirit but also wanderers spirit. We are sure fans would be having ball of a time with football, fun, shopping, adventure, cuisine, carnival what not!

Oh! You missed being in Brazil for FIFA 2014, fret not, Common Wealth games are round the corner to regale your sporting and traveller’s spirits. Start planning now to be part of this grand sporting event to be held in Glasgow, Scotland from July 23 – August 3, 2014. Sports tourism is witnessing impactful growth now only in India but world over. You can plan your visit by opting for tour packages specially designed by Thomas Cook, Cox & Kings and Kuoni India.

Giving you an update on Common Wealth games, the Queen’s Baton Relay arrives in Glasgow on 20 July 2014 for the final four days of its momentous journey. Travelling 190,000 kilometres over 70 nations and territories and relayed by thousands of people throughout the Commonwealth, the baton’s journey ends in the Host City of the 2014 Commonwealth Games. The People’s Palace will host the starting line for this fantastic event, before the baton journeys through Glasgow. Visiting the iconic landmarks that make the city famous, the baton will be cheered past the Gallery of Modern Art, George Square, Glasgow Cathedral and the Mitchell Library.

Glasgow Green Opening CGIdryj_0
Glasgow Green Opening CGIdryj_0

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Glasgow’s west end will play host to the second day of the event, taking in venues including Kelvin grove Art Gallery and Museum, the Botanic Gardens and the Finnieston Crane. On the penultimate day of the relay, the baton will travel to the south side of Glasgow, past the Burrell Collection, Tramway and the Citizens Theatre.

"With a string of thumping live music venues, a sartorial scene to rival London's and a skyline shaped by starchitects, Glasgow is Scotland's creative capital..."
“With a string of thumping live music venues, a sartorial scene to rival London’s and a skyline shaped by starchitects, Glasgow is Scotland’s creative capital…”
You'll be bowled over with the amount of options on offer - seek out historic sites, visit the city's parks and gardens, explore the impressive gastronomic scene or soak up the cultured art scene.
You’ll be bowled over with the amount of options on offer – seek out historic sites, visit the city’s parks and gardens, explore the impressive gastronomic scene or soak up the cultured art scene.

You can expect an exciting night of music, special guests and surprises as Mother Glasgow opens her doors to the Commonwealth.Not only this, you can also experience the once-in-a-lifetime buzz of the Commonwealth Games coming to Glasgow at their biggest Festival 2014 Opening Ceremony party. Also you can enjoy a dazzling line up of Scottish musicians including Lulu, Eddi Reader, James Grant, Rab Noakes, Sarah Hayes (Admiral Fallow), Roddy Hart & the Lonesome Fire, Emma Pollock and RM Hubbert as they come together with friends to celebrate this momentous occasion. Don’t miss to watch the spectacular Opening Ceremony live on giant screens whilst indulging in refreshments from a delicious Scottish Food Village and bar area.

On Opening Ceremony night UNICEF will bring the Commonwealth together for children. Be a part of this special event at Glasgow Green Live Zone and for every ticket you buy, it will donate £1 to UNICEF in support of its work for children.
Those of you who are into outdoor pursuits, like water sports and hikes can head to Lochmond and The Trossachs and The Trossachs National Park, simultaneously can indulge in sea food culinary delights in the town of Argyll. Not only this you can take historic tours of Scottish castles like Stirling castle, Edinburg castle, Birkwood castle. Edinburg is supposed to be one of the most haunted spots in Scotland, frequented by long line of haunted ghosts.

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If you area wine connoisseur, don’t miss to visit some of the finest distilleries in the world too, some of which are easy to reach from the games venue.

Designer Bags
Designer Bags

What is life without a dash of shopping to wherever you travel and which part of the world you travel, especially women travellers? Shopping in Glasgow is only second to London and must-do for Indian shopaholics. To begin with, you can head to Style Mile, refers to the square mile in the very centre of Glasgow which houses the most extraordinary concentration of shops – from unique designer stores to flagship stores for British and international retailers. Over 200 stores, many exclusive to the Style Mile are now open until 7pm every Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday.

Five of Scotland’s hottest designers have come together to create an exclusive collection of limited edition tote bags inspired by late night shopping on Glasgow’s Style Mile.

Shoppers delight, only second to London
Shoppers delight, only second to London

Bookended by two large shopping malls – Buchanan Galleries at the north end, and St Enoch Centre at the south – the pedestrian boulevard of Buchanan Street has been voted one of the world’s top retail destinations. And with the recent opening of Buchanan Quarter, home to Scotland’s first Forever21 store and many more retailers, this part of the city continues to offer the best shopping outside London’s West End.

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Where Sauchiehall and Buchanan Street meet, Buchanan Galleries provides a gleaming, modern showcase for over 90 famous name retailers – anchored by John Lewis. This department store, renowned for exemplary customer service and its knowingly undersold price guarantee, has four floors filled with everything from fabulous fashion labels to covetable home wares.

St. Enoch Centre, Situated at the corner of Buchanan and Argyle Streets and anchored by a huge Debenhams store teeming with choice in fashion, beauty and home wares, St Enoch Centre is a gleaming modern mall housing the most popular names in High Street shopping plus a fantastic food court – all under one roof. Princes Square is one of Scotland’s leading speciality shopping centres, with an unrivalled mix of boutiques covering fashion, lifestyle, beauty, gifts, art and jewellery. Established 1849, Frasers is Glasgow’s Scotland’s Premium Department Store. Standing at the bottom of Buchanan Street, the most iconic building of Glasgow’s Style Mile offers five floors of temptation including an internationally renowned Beauty Hall and brands that you will not find anywhere else in Scotland. Located in the heart of the city centre, just off Buchanan Street, the Argyll Arcade offers the largest selection of jewellers and diamond merchants in a single location in Scotland. Ingram Street runs from Royal Exchange Square right through to the heart of the Merchant City, and is the city’s most exclusive fashion boulevard with a range of designer brands.

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As a UNESCO City of Music, Glasgow is renowned for its music scene and the city’s independent music stores play a big part in this culture. With widely acclaimed stores such as Albamusick, LostChord (the oldest second hand record store in Glasgow), LOVEmusic, Missing Records, Mixed Up Records, Monorail Music, Play It Again Records, Volcanic Tongue and Rubadub Records you’ll be spoilt for choice!

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Would you like to miss on this unique opportunity to travel to Glasgow for unique blend of sports, fun, food, castles, culture, concerts, entertainment, cuisines, shopping what not?

Beauty has an address, & the address is OMAN!

I was highly mesmerised by our trip to Rann of Kutch last winter, white sand on chilly winter night, with moonrise on the back drop, I was blown away. The wide expanse of white sand was incredible…I refuse to budge from there. This is when my husband Mukund told me that if you are finding this so enticing, plan a trip to Oman to explore the beauty of Sand desert which is  exotic, mysterious, stunningly beautiful. He added, “You will feel like being in heaven while alive.”

Obviously he was referring toAsh-Sharqiyah Sands (also known as Wahiba Sands) which by his description looked to me ideal for a romantic visitor like me which is a desert in the accepted sense of the word. My curiosity grew when his description stretched while returning from Rann and joining bonn fire in the resort. He explained that these are Rolling sand dunes, varying from deep red to a rich honey colour sands stretching as far as the eye can see. They consist of grains of various eroded rocks and marine sediments blown into the area. My curiosity grew. He was telling me that sand driving requires skill, boards for digging out and a long tow rope in case one gets stuck. Now I was after him, when we will go to Oman? He had no answer…but it looks like my dream can come true.

Obviously this will be on my agenda, when I will visit Oman. My curiosity grew in Oman, and research began. During my research, my first knight in the shining armour was  www.omantourism.gov.om which provided wonderful insights into the tourism destinations of Oman. Still I was looking for some real life people who had visited Oman as a tourist. (My husband was there for work). And I could lay my hands on one. She summarised in just one word, Heavenly! She added, “Oman for us is a rich colourful country, steeped in traditions, with hospitality at its very core.”

Now I was keener on Oman, suddenly this contest on www.indiblogger.in.  and this compounded my excitement on Oman.

My other destination would be Ras al-Jinz Turtle Reserve, (Being a slow walker myself, I am always being addressed as one) where I would love to meet my counterparts, that too breeding. I can’t imagine what that sight would be like? I came to know that turtles do not approach the beach during the day so for the best chance of seeing a turtle, we can take a guided tour 9 PM onwards that too by Mr Mohammed who has been working with breeding of turtles since the age of 12. The beach is a 900m, 15-minute walk from the visitors centre across soft sand. Between 8am and 1.30pm, here visitors can enjoy the magical bay without an escort and it’s often possible to spot turtles between the waves, waiting for nightfall before approaching the beach.

One can know all about turtle reserve on this link on Oman tourism site, http://bit.ly/1lpvLK1

Being a music buff, music concert lover, music, and dance makes my life and what could be the better place than Royal Opera House Muscat which came up in 2011 and since then has become a high point in the cultural life of the capital. Built by the same architects as the Grand Mosque, the understated marble exterior belies the magnificent interior of inlaid wood and Arabesque designs. Some of the most famous names in opera and ballet performed in a world-class program in the opera house’s inaugural year and the quality of production has already won international acclaim. I surely intend to catch a show, it’s worth stopping by to admire the beauty of the building and enjoy window shopping in the adjacent Opera Galleria arcade.

Another place which caught my fancy as I love visiting forts and castles, and this is Jabrin Castle, located in Jibrin town in Wilayat Bahla; Ad-Dakhliyah region. Jibrin Fort resembles a remarkable blend of defensive architecture and sophisticated artistry. It consists of three floors and 55 rooms, and is penetrated by Falaj Jibrin. The Fort is considered one of the most impressive forts in the Sultanate and the details and carvings in the rooms and balconies are most elaborate. Finely painted flowers and symbols are found on the ceilings in the ‘living’ rooms. This exquisite palace was built by Bala’rab bin Sultan Al-Ya’arubi (1680-1692 AD). The tomb of Imam remains within the Fort and is on my wish-list.

Mountains – they always excite and give serenity at the same time. What would be green mountains like in Oman, I have no clue. And Al-Jabal Al -Akhdar, located about 10,000 feet above sea level, (The Green Mountain) is the highest peak in the Eastern Hajar mountains and one of the highest points in the Sultanate. The thrilling views from the Jabal, as well as its balmy climate, are among the qualities that distinguish it as one of the top tourism spots in Oman.

After all this & more, shopping would top my list of to do things in Oman. So I started digging and what who would be better than my husband, who knows where to dig my heels in Oman for shopping. He told me about Mutrah Corniche, which retains the chaotic interest of a traditional Arab market albeit housed under modern timber roofing. There are some good antique shops selling a mixture of Indian and Omani artefacts among the usual textile, hardware and gold shops. My work will be done here!!! Omani Heritage Gallery is known forguaranteed ‘Made in Oman’ crafts, try the Omani Heritage Gallery, a non-profit organisation set up to encourage cottage industries through the sale of handicrafts.

Describing the warmth and hospitality of shopkeepers there, Mukund told me that there shopkeepers will tell you: ‘Come in my shop, take Arabic coffee with me. If you like, you buy, if you don’t, then you don’t, my friend. Don’t worry about the price, my friend, we can talk.’ Haggling here is an art form and the most enjoyable way to spend the day. Who wouldn’t like to have coffee there?

My trip would not be complete without paying my visit to Grand Mosque, which is the glorious piece of modern Islamic architecture was a gift to the nation from Sultan Qaboos to mark the 30th year of his reign. Quietly imposing from the outside, the main prayer hall is breathtakingly rich. The Persian carpet alone measures 70m by 60m wide, making it the second-largest hand-loomed Iranian carpet in the world; it took 600 women four years to weave. The mosque can accommodate 20,000 worshippers, including 750 women in a private musalla (prayer hall).

No wonder, when the Palestinian Arab scholar Muqadisi visited the city in the 10th century AH, he described it as a “flourishing city with a large number of people living there. It is a beautiful city with a comfortable life, and its mosque overlooks the sea … the Mihrab changes colour because it is covered in copper…”

Maps can be referred to on: www.omantourism.gov.om. this will be my first reference point while in Oman. Indeed it is the site has proven to be great help for undertaking my research and also for planning my trip to Oman.

Amen!

 

 

Philippines – Pearl of Orient Seas – Not to be missed!

One fine morning, radio jingle on Radio City caught my attention which spoke about Philippines to be the destination for travel lovers. The jingle promised that it has something or the other for any type of tourist – adventurous, sporty, historical, beaches and most importantly shopping, which we all ladies love. Having limited knowledge of the country, I started my research and was amazed at what Philippines has to offer to its tourist. Though it has not been promoted greatly especially in India, it is worth a trip. So I am off to Philippines and I am sure after reading my post you too would be tempted to visit this “Pearl of Orient Seas”.

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Someone prominent once called the Philippines “Pearl of the Orient Seas” and with sufficient reasons. It’s a rare beauty in the heart of Southeast Asia. A few days of sightseeing in the Philippines will prove this true. If you want to experience a variety in tourism, then the best place that you should visit is Philippines where you can have a taste of the Western as well as Eastern culture since it has been dominated by several nations in the past, such as Spanish, Japanese, and Americans. Because of this, Philippines became rich in several structures such as churches, towers, museums, and more.

Sightseeing is one of the activities that you can do here in Philippines. Each region and each province has something different to offer. Most of the tourist spots here in Philippines are natural scenic scenery and had been nominated to become one of the New Seven Wonders of the World. Some of these destinations include the Chocolate Hills in Bohol, Mayon Volcano in Albay, Subterranean River in Puerto Princesa, and the Tubbataha Reef in Suly. There are also several ruins that can be found in Cebu (churches as well as watchtowers), Albay (Cagsawa ruins), and even in the capital of the country, Manila (Fort Santigo).

Manila

Lets start from Manila, the capital of the Philippines, is the oldest and most popular city. It boasts of major historical sites, like those in Intramuros, the Walled City built by the Spaniards in the 16th century. Around Intramuros are Forts (like Fort Santiago) the Spaniards built to protect Manila from invasive attacks. Malacanang, the historical seat of power, is found here. Manila also keeps updated with the latest in hotel, restaurant, and mall amenities and other tourism attractions to afford travelers quality sightseeing in the Philippines. The famous SM Mall of Asia lies at its reclaimed bay area on the CCP grounds.

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Cebu City

The Queen City in the South, Cebu City is among well developed cities in the country boasting of posh hotels, restaurants, and shopping centers considered among the finest in the country. In the early days, Cebu was famous for sweets and delicacies and the best brands of acoustic guitars. Today, Cebu is also an ideal venue for business conferences, real estate, tourism, and for establishing offshore business offices. Sightseeing in the Philippines is well rewarded with a dip in one of Cebu’s fascinating beaches.

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Davao City

Foreigners have been captivated by Davao City even before the place was declared a city in modern times. Considered a convenient gateway to Mindanao, the Davao Gulf area has been serving for centuries as a welcome entry point for tourism. The localities in and around the Davao Bay have been phenomenal in luring tourists to check out pristine white-sand beaches and vivid world-class dive sites.

Mountain Province

Mountain Province lies amid hilly and mountainous vicinities of northern Luzon and is among the indigenous settlements in the Cordillera region—a series of awe-inspiring mountain ranges seldom visited by lowlanders. Mountain Province is an epitome of simple but virtuous living and tribal and communal cooperation sheltered in clusters of simple stilted huts. It is ideal for contemplative sightseeing in the Philippines.

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Banawe Rice Terraces

It’s a common sight to see mountainsides converted into rice terraces by the native ingenuity of Mountain Province folks. But a vast mountain conversion is found in Banawe, a locality of Mountain Province. It is where a whole mountain range that stretches as far as the eyes could see functions as well irrigated ziggurats of rice fields manually engineered by native Ifugaos and Igorots. Called the Banawe Rice Terraces, it is a display of Filipino ingenuity, resolve, and brute strength. It’s a fascinating destination when sightseeing in the Philippines.

Baguio City

A bit lower than the Cordillera region is enchanting Baguio City in Benguet, a part of the Cordillera mountain ranges. This is a major tourist spot when sightseeing in the Philippines. Among fascinating sights here are Burnham Park, Mines View Park, Camp John Hay, Session Road, and Teachers Camp, among many others. The city was planned and developed by American city planner and Architect Daniel Burnham in the 1900s. Baguio City is the Summer Capital of the Philippines.

Vigan and Laoag

Ilocos Sur and Norte offer tourists a lot of absorbing memories of the past, especially during the Spanish time. Vigan and Laoag, capital cities of Ilocos Sur and Ilocos Norte, respectively, not only brags about superb beachfronts but archaic lighthouses and old colonial church buildings, houses, and buildings preserved well since the 18th century. Sightseeing in the Philippines should include a visit to the Old Vigan Houses and the Marcos Mausoleum in Laoag.

Sightseeing in the Philippines is so worthwhile that most tourists find the need to keep coming back to the islands for more.